John hails energy price freeze as vital in the fight to tackle Southampton’s cost of living crisis

John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, has welcomed the announcement that an incoming Labour Government will freeze energy prices, as vital in the fight to tackle the cost of living crisis hitting hard pressed Southampton families.

Mr Denham was responding to the announcement made by Labour leader Ed Miliband at this week’s Labour Party Conference.

  • This will save a typical household in Southampton £120 and an average business £1,800.
  • Over 8,000 families in Southampton are considered to be in fuel poverty according to official Government statistics.  A fuel poor household is defined as one which needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth.

Britain’s energy market isn’t working for ordinary families and businesses. 

  • The Big 6 energy companies supply energy to 98% of homes and run 70% of Britain’s power stations. Lack of competition means people can’t shop around to get a fair deal and so get overcharged;
  • Energy bills have risen by almost £300 for families since 2010 and businesses say it’s the second biggest cost they face;
  • When the price of energy increases energy companies pass this on but when it drops consumers don’t see their bills fall;
  • When energy prices went up in 2008, bills went up. But when energy prices fell by 45% in 2009, household bills only fell by 5%. This overcharging is unfair and undermines trust in the market;
  • Only last Sunday Which? estimated that flaws in the market have left consumers paying £3.9bn a year over the odds since 2010, and
  • This has been possible because of limited competition and weak regulation from Ofgem.

The next Labour Government will reset our energy market so it works for Britain’s families and businesses, with a new tough regulator to stop overcharging.  But while this is being put in place, the next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017.

  • An incoming Labour Government will legislate immediately to make this happen.

John said:

“This is vital to relieve the pressure on household incomes across Southampton.  It shows that Labour is willing to stand up to the powerful in order to look after ordinary families.

“I know from speaking to constituents that people in Southampton are sick of spiralling energy bills while the companies charging them make vast profits, much of which goes straight to shareholders or executives’ bonuses.  They want us to take steps to restore public confidence in the energy market in the interests of consumers.

“Ed Miliband is absolutely right to tell the energy companies that we can work together to make the market work in the future. The alternative is that these companies reinforce in the public mind that they are part of the problem, not the solution.”

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